Socialist Worker

Police commander quizzed at Jean Charles de Menezes trial

Issue No. 2074

The police commander in charge of the operation which ended in the killing of Jean Charles de Menezes told an Old Bailey jury last week that she had not given an order to shoot him.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner (DAC) Cressida Dick, who has since been promoted, said that she used the word “stop”, expecting a “conventional armed challenge” from firearms officers.

Jean Charles was killed on a tube train at Stockwell station on 22 July 2005.

Dick told the jury, “The death of Mr De Menezes is a terrible tragedy and one that I, and I think the whole of the Metropolitan Police, regret. I think he was the victim of the most extraordinary and terrible circumstances.”

Failures

The Metropolitan Police is accused of a “catastrophic” series of failures leading up to the death of Jean Charles. The Met denies a single charge under health and safety laws.

Dick said her handling of the situation had been proportionate.

Earlier, Dick denied claims the control room was “noisy and chaotic”.

She was responding to prosecution claims that officers had to shout to make themselves heard in the room.

Ronald Thwaites QC, defending, asked, “Did you give any instruction that he would be shot?” She replied, “No, I did not.”

Asked by Mr Thwaites if other people in her position might have taken different decisions, she replied, “Possibly yes.”

Cross-examined by Clare Montgomery QC, prosecuting, Dick agreed that the police should be accountable. She said the events of July 2005 were “unique and unprecedented”.

Earlier the trial heard claims that the force had manipulated a picture presented to the jury which had been intended to illustrate the difficulties officers faced in telling apart Jean Charles and the suspect they were actually looking for.

Ms Montgomery told the court that it had been altered “by either stretching or resizing, so the face ceases to have its correct proportions”.

The judge, Mr Justice Henriques, told the jury, “A serious allegation has been made that a picture has been manipulated so as to mislead.”

A forensics consultant, Michael George, told the jury the effect of what the Met had done was to make de Menezes and the terrorist suspect look more alike.

Mr Thwaites said the prosecution’s attempt to show the photograph had been manipulated was a “pseudo-scientific exercise”, and added that the Met denied the allegation.

The trial continues.


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News
Tue 23 Oct 2007, 18:36 BST
Issue No. 2074
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